February 2010


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This would have been an almost perfect day, if it was not for the discovery of an enormous abscess below the tooth of trouble from a year ago, the one my ‘dentist’ had at. It is not yet painful but is larger than any I have suffered since my pus packed youth (that happy time when I had asthma, diabetes barely controlled, uncountable infections, and a granny in the same house who offered to beat the asthma out of my with a poker, which she had thoughtfully put under the bedclothes; and those are only the happy memories!).

Did a fair bit of work. Called a fair few folk. My phone package gives me free week-end landline calls. Trouble is I generally forget to call people until it is too late to call. Managed to do a lot today, the only shame being I may have got a few more at my show if I had done it last weekend; but fair do’s; lat weekend was a little full of other matters.

I tell you what, this weekend has been a proper break from, what feels like, proper work. The only thing missing, apart from healthy teeth, is that I managed no gardening on a fair Sunday.

A few bits of catch up on last week:

I have discovered a clutch of unused addressed envelopes, obviously done for Walburgas, though she is my patron saint of late greetings cards that seems fitting. `They will be filled and posted soon, but 2nd class on account of things being tight until I get the loss guarantee cheque, and I have not yet sent the application in.

I introduced myself to Colin Firth on Tuesday last but butting in and saying Hi Colin, I’m the bloke who got Channel $ to release the film. He said: Well done! Unbidden he then said I hope it will be listed as one of my best films, or even by best, in my obituaries. He said I could quote him, and quote him as saying I want the DVD of a ‘A month in the Country’ released.Colin Firth. Sorry to bold things up, but he said it, and I want google to notice it. 

Not only was Colin there (the day after winning a BAFTA), but also Pat O’Connor (director) & Kenith Trodd (producer) (who all spoke to the audience after the screening), Howard Blake (composer) and Kenneth MacMillan (cameraman). They were all sat at the next table to me. I talked to them all apart from Kenneth. They all want the DVD re-released; and they now know how keen the rest of them are for it to happen. That will make a massive difference. 

I told Colin Firth that Ken Branagh rated A Month in the Country as one of his best. Colin was both touched and pleased to hear that.

A lady I talked to said I wish Colin Firth would sit on my face!. It did not strike me until much later that that was an odd thing to wish for, for a female. It did prompt me to ask her if she read VIZ when she was younger; she did and we took turns in doing our favourite bits, though one of us did more than the other: lucky for her we did not get on to the Simpsons, Even without me doing the whole of Who needs the Quick-E-Mart I did not have time to eat my rhubarb pudding (a Pavlova, I was told today).

I do not live in a very clean house, but the sight of a black thing scuttling behind the laptop, as I was pretending to check for mis-spellings, gave me a turn. Turned out to be a lead I had unplugged. A cockroach or deathwatch beetle would have added pain to the abscess, but anything less would probably have provoked curiosity. Radio 2’s Russell Davies helps.

Tried the Frence lemon chicken again. Same problem with blood at the leg joint, but much better than last time; and had cava with it (first drink since Walburgas).
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A relaxing day of catch up, including domestic work.

The biggest single job was writing a summary of how things stand with A Month in the Country to send to Colin Firth, Howard Blake, Pat O’Connor and Kenith Trodd.

Hilary Witney has also updated the article about my search for the film, that she originally wrote for the Daily Telegraph.

I also wrote a summary of using the Small Claims Court for a neighbour, though I am very wary of getting any more involved.

On top of that I have had the most e-mails I have had for a very long time, and while a lot were to do with Tuesday’s dinner and Thursday’s show, most just touched on them and were mainly about completely different matters. If you have mailed it may take a while to answer. Sorry.
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Yesterday’s show was easily the most relaxed I have done; and probably the best; the two are definitely not coincidental. I even signed-on in the afternoon!

No negative feed-back of any kind from the audience, and some very high praise.

The audience was quite small, and I will have to be claiming on the loss guarantee.

It was good to work with Sam Collier. His theatre experience was one reason for my being relaxed. There was also another ex-pupil of mine in the audience, called Matt. I tought him at Hollingwood, and he said lst night that I had got him through his SATS.

It was the second time I had worked with Dick Preston. I could actually listen to him this year. There is potential for future shows and we have agreed to talk soon.

Myself and Sam will also be talking about doing things fairly soon.

Final thanks to Tina for the lift home; though we had to go via the 24 supermarket to get eggs and milk so she could cook Joe (who filmed the show) pancakes. I was going to get some cava but decided I was already carrying enough booze.
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Today I had a chat with Colin Firth, star of A Month in the Country, a film he told me he wants listed as one of his best on his obituary (and I would, as a very rigorous historian not even add so far. He will astonish with all the new he does, but A Month in the Country is set as a diamond for everyone I have talked to that was involved in it. I started listing them, but cut it. I wept a little watching the film, and a very little reading the J.L.Carr novel on the train to London, and the pub. I got credit as the man who got the film on DVD; and I sold £20’s worth after emptying my pockets of all my, and the the Carr, books I had: but I just want this diamond of a film; a brilliant resetting of a jewel of a book, to be seen.

Paragraph breath. Lucy and Adam. Charlie and Soff: Rowley. Harry Burton. The staff at Le cafe Anglais.

In less than 46 hours from me posting this you will be able to hear me in the flesh, wittering about it, if you turn up to my Walburgas show and pay to get in.

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My my father first developed ,A HREF=”http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Diabetes-Type-2.htm”>type 2 diabetes, well over a decade ago, he told me he would rather be dead than have to take injections, as I have for over 40 years. Well after today he is only one less injection a day than my 4,The good news is that he is not kicking against the pricks. As long as my 88 year old mother is alive and well she can do for him what she did for me when I was 5 years old.

The visit to the doctors was almost as stressful as it could be, but still massively stressful. Things could have easily become dangerous in the next few days if I had not been there. It is an issue, as it often is in medicine, of transmission of information; and I could, and did, make sure it was.

My trip to the screening of A Month in the Country with dinner at Le Cafe Anglais afterwards (with Colin Firth, who won a BAFTA yesterday) is still going ahead; as is the Walburgas Day 10 Show on Thursday (tickets still available); but I am going to be traveling south even more over the next weeks.
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The invitation is now sorted, and I should behaving dinner with Colin Firth on Tuesday; or at least being in the same room when A Month in the Country is screened, and possibly eating in the same room as him afterwards.

Another long journey, but one with no alcohol; before, after or during.

On the long part of the trip I sat with Brighton fans; the loudest being a birdwatcher and a show off from Margate. His mate was quieter. Then a red haired lass from Rotherham, called Susan, was induced to join in the conversation. I sold her a book, at discount, and ended up carrying her case on the Underground.
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Went to York to show Murry and his family around. Him and Tracy came to the Month in the Country showing I produced at the Everyman, Hampstead, 5 years ago. They had come on a romantic trip back to where they did their courting; and I gave him my only copy of the DVD as a spot prize (a DVD now selling for £40 on ebay).

I broke at Leeds on the way there to pick up train tickets from a machine (Bradford does not have any, Bangor does, so does Bognor, and probably Bradfrod-on-Avon). For the first time in 2 years the machine demanded my transaction code. So I now have to pay to go to Leeds to pick up the tickets. I then discovered I had lost my ticket to York. I did find it on the floor.

The rest of the day was all good.

Took the four of them (inc. lads Sandy and Ewen) on an almost random sinckleways tour. Highlights included meeting Norwegians dressed as Vikings outside the Merchant Taylors Hall, and being shown round with them. Murry works at the Guildhall in London and has family connections to that Merchant Taylors company, and he had tried to get in twice before, so he was happy as a monastery that had seen a viking ship, and watched it sail by.

Had lunch in the Black Swan. Universal praise. My pigeon pie was a wonder.

After I went to the Kings Arms, and the sweet landlady Helen, from the Boltmakers in Keighley, recognised me. Her and her man had been to a funeral of a 38 year old regular, who died of liver failier. I ended up having beer with them in the Stone Rose and the Hansom Cab.

On the train home I sat on an empty seat on aisle paired tables. It was full of squadies. The eldest looking looked to be 20. The loud, sweary one looked 15. There was a South African, who had been back-squaded, who did not look any older. They all agreed that they wanted to go to Afghanistan. Before I got off at leeds the sweary one said he reckoned I was a policeman.
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The family news is that my father’s diabetes has become so bad that he was put on insulin injections today. I strongly suspect that he has been suffering from dangerously high blood sugar levels for months. The hope is that once does are under control a lot of the other unspoken problems he has been having will get better. I will be going down soon to lend support.

I did an interview on BCB this afternoon with Tina and Alan. I am fairly sure you cannot listen again to it, but will post a link if I find otherwise. It was a nice interview.

Afterwards I bought £10 of pictures from Oxfam, for the frames. I used the string from one to tie all 2 toghether. I carried the lot to Sir Titus Salts for another meeting with Sam. I drank nothing but coffee.

Sam is keen to do a show with me on St. George’s day. It has attractive possibilities. I could do a lot of things I do in other shows, and have Sydney Smith and George Burrow as well.

I am now very tired.
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Thumb typing warning!

Though, to be fair, whilst I have shipped a lot of beer, it has been steady, over more than half a day, and I walked a bit, and took food at regular intervals.

Come back from the 50th birthday of Dave Little Brother, the best surviving poet of Bradford’s punk days.

There was curry, but more than half of the audience, know must be there because they know Dave, f’ing well talked whilst he was doing his poems. I made none verbal signage to some of the worst. I did not get really angry, and had something to talk to the legendary Ginger John about as a result.

Getting angry but not losing it has been a theme for a few days.

I assumed (and this is a paste) that I can certainly make sure you are invited to the … event. meant I would be invited to the event. No. I will have to pay a lot of money, but only if they can squeeze me in.

I spent a fair bit of emotionally challenging time yesterday trying to give advice about debt recovery to someone who asked me to visit when the children were there, but then did not want to talk in front of the children.

On the plus side the Walburgas Show is shaping very well. There are photos on facebook

I spent a very pleasant few hours in the Grove in Leeds, in order to sort out music with Dick Preston, the cittern player. It will be a much better show than last year; partly because I am applying lessons, but also because one of the lessons is that relaxation makes any planning easier.

I called in to the Commercial Inn on my way from Forster Square Ststion to Dave’s do at the Beehive. I had not been in for at least one whole decade. I had a bottle of pils, as there was nothing else I would want in my mouth. I then went to the Castle, which was good.
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It been a few days of mostly domestic jobs. The biggest one being defrosting the freezer. When I came back from the last trip south I discovered the freezer door had been left ajar. I had started emptying it for cleaning after Christmas, but when I finally got round to clearing it I had to hack what was left out. It took over 18 hours for the ice to melt!

I threw all the meat away and used the thawed blackberries I picked last autumn to make wine. I have one demijohn on the go, or rather, not on the go because there is nowhere in my house warm enough for yeast to work.

Yesterday I met up with Joe, Sam Collier and the cast of a show he is producing (Annie). It was a nice group, including flirty Amanda, and it turned into a long session but we sorted some important stuff for our show, and possible future ones. It makes a massive difference to me having a venue manager with wide experience co-producing. It means my workload is reduced enormously.

Afterwards I popped into rafters and met Ian Austin, John Duffy, and John Gibbons. It was like being back in MacRory’s in the 80’s. I did a poem for the lovely Michelle for her birthday, and bought her two packets of Ploughman’s Lunch (two cream crackers, a cheese triangle, two tiny pickled onions and a plastic spreader). She had never seen one before and I got a snog for the gift; though that might be because I told her I am having dinner with Colin Firth.
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